Finding Happiness and Contentment     During the Holidays by Terry Zick, M.A.Will you find contentment and joy throughout ...
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Page 4 winter issue of empowerment magazine

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Page 4 winter issue of empowerment magazine

  1. 1. Finding Happiness and Contentment During the Holidays by Terry Zick, M.A.Will you find contentment and joy throughout the holi- 5. Respond to each moment withday season? Some people may think it would be im- calm, wisdom and appropriatepossible to experience happiness or contentment behavior, rather than react withthrough the holidays. Here‟s encouraging news… anger, fear, anxiety.when you focus on some new perspectives andstrategies, you will become more uplifted and more at 6. Stay optimistic that things will go well, and de-peace. velop confidence that you will find a way to man- age/reduce any stressors.It is important to recognize that much of our unhappi- 7. Plan ways to nurture yourself through the experi-ness can come from thinking about unpleasant past ence.memories over and over. And, due to that influence,we end up with a “programmed” dread of the holidays, 8. Only agree to what you want to do, rather thansometimes starting the upset as early as September what others want you to do. Give yourself per-or October. We get locked into disempowering self mission to follow your truth and your wisdom.talk such as, “I ALWAYS get depressed through the 9. Notice beauty and sweetness in every day. Con-holidays”, “My family always makes me upset, but I nect in the heart more and more often. For ex-have no choice—I have to be with them”. ample, mindfully appreciate the rich assortment of sights, smells, sounds, textures and tastes.In cognitive-behavioral therapy, we learn about thecognitive distortion of „all-or-nothing thinking‟. This 10. Shop within your budget. Give only when yourthinking means that we believe that the holidays are heart feels giving, instead of giving out of obliga-either going to be: all bad; all sad; all unloving; all tion.challenging. When people say they dread the holi- 11. Set limits, stand up for your boundaries, let otherdays, this sounds like all-or-nothing thinking. people know it is important to respect your posi- tion when setting a boundary.Additionally, we become unhappy by putting our at- 12. Ignore the drama, breath in peace and loving-tention on all the aspects that are missing, and there- kindness, breath out the same.fore feeling empty and sad. The truth is, that the way 13. Take responsibility for making yourself happy in-we think about the season can be limited, unrealistic stead of trying so hard to make sure others areand very misguided. happy. 14. Validate your sadness, fear and anger in non-Let this be the year we change those peace destroy- judgmental, healthy ways. Set a timeframe toing patterns! I would encourage you to rethink your feel those feelings, and then move on to someold patterns of thought and misbelief about the holi- other activity to shift the energy.days. Here are some of the many strategies for find- 15. Focus on what brings you joy and pleasure suching rejuvenating appreciation of the season: as play the music you enjoy, fix the food you like, see your kind of movie. 1. Release unfair/unrealistic expectations of others 16. Make allowances for the mistakes and insensitiv- and of our self. Be nonjudgmental, accept “what ity of others who may have had the best inten- is”. tions. 2. Take more responsibility for creating your own 17. When people who are typically hurtful to you con- peace instead of expecting other people to act in a tinue to be hurtful, consider releasing the drama way that brings you peace. and blessing them on their journey. 3. Live more in the present moment with something 18. Keep your personal power with those who cause you enjoy or are grateful for, instead of focusing harm or hurt. on the past. 19. Practice the liberating, calming, balancing power 4. Recognize that the past DOES NOT predict the of deep belly breathing. future, so you are empowered to change your ex- 20. Be encouraged that experience is transformed by perience. discerning attention to our thoughts, and -

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